About this event

  • Date and time Mon 18 Nov 2019 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Critical Care Medicine

This event will give delegates a fascinating insight into the physiology of diving, and how humans adapt to this harsh and extreme environment. Clinicians involved in the management of all forms of diving disease will share their expertise, including stories from those who have survived near-death experiences underwater.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the physiological adaptations seen in humans when immersed at pressure
  • Understand the principles of decompression theory
  • Describe the pathophysiology of decompression illness ("the bends", a disease of "evolved" gas)
  • Understand the mechanisms of other diving-related disorders, eg. arterial gas embolism (a disease of "escaped" gas), immersion pulmonary oedema
  • List the possible mechanisms by which humans may survive in the underwater environment

Key speakers

Richard Moon

Richard Moon

Richard Moon is a Professor of Medicine and Anesthesiology, and Medical Director of the Hyperbaric Center at Duke University, North Carolina. He is a very experienced diving physician and will give a presentation on decompression illness ("the bends"), which is the most high profile diving disease.

Chris Lemons

Chris Lemons

Chris Lemons is a commercial diver who in 2012 suffered a near-fatal accident at the bottom of the North Sea, when his life support was cut off for more than 30 minutes. His survival story has been made into a film called "Last Breath". He is a highly articulate speaker who will use excerpts from the film (which includes original footage of the accident) to bring the tale of his amazing recovery vividly to life.



View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Dr Oliver Firth, Medical Director, Hyperbaric Physician, London Diving Chamber and Honorary Lecturer, University College London

Session one

Rapid decompression

Dr Mark Glover, Medical Director, St Richard's Hospital, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Patent foramen ovale and immersion pulmonary oedema

Dr Mark Turner, Chairman, UK Diving Medical Committee

Panel discussion

Dr Mark Glover and Dr Mark Turner

Tea and coffee break

Session two

Bends – the Curse of divers: History, pathophysiology and treatment

Dr Richard Moon, Medical Director, Duke University, USA

Diving and hyperbaric physiology – What don’t we know?

Dr James Clark, Reader in Human and Applied Physiology, King's College London

Panel discussion

Dr Richard Moon and Dr James Clark


Session three

Diving the Mary Rose

Professor Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine, University College London

Arterial gas embolism

Dr Pieter Bothma, Consultant Anaesthetist, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sudden death / Prolonged survival on immersion

Professor Mike Tipton, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology and Associate Head, University of Portsmouth

Panel discussion

Professor Hugh Montgomery, Dr Pieter Bothma, Professor Mike Tipton

Tea and coffee break

Session four

Last Breath – Survival without oxygen – The Bibby Topaz incident

Mr Chris Lemons, Saturation Diver, Rever Offshore 

Questions and answers
Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom